Dec. 21st, 2012 08:22 am
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So, the world was supposed to end today. So far, doesn't look that way.

Although those of you with higher psychic sensitivities may have suffered some bad sleep last night, the world is still here. Early reports indicate that the inner barrier wall around the primary temple complex is still holding. Even if that fails, there's the outer barrier wall. And if that doesn't work, well, there are contingencies.

None of which involve an orbital death ray of unparalleled destructive capacity. Honestly, I don't know where you hear these kinds of rumors.
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If the only thing that happened during Halloween was that people messing around with the occult messed around with the occult, then there would not be too much of a problem. After all, there’s only so much occult to go around, and generally the efforts of a bunch of confused amateurs only collide with each other. If a dozen people perform sacrifice rites to make themselves rulers of the world everything tends to get tangled up in itself, and you end up electing the governor of Texas or something.

No, the problem with Halloween is that the surge of magical energy ends up amplifying the powers, the senses, and the appetites of those who are already in tune with the rhythm of the outer spheres. Now, normally the word appetite is accompanied by a great deal of wink-wink nudge-nudge innuendo due to its implications, but when it comes to werewolves, vampires, sirens, goblins, gargoyles, dust bunnies, tooth fairies, and everything else that hides in little kids’s closets, this is normally accompanied by a large amount of time in the coroner’s office sorting the right remains into the right bins.

Of course, when you expect something like this, all sorts of people can take advantage of your expectations.

I'm Still Not Paid Enough For The Gratuitous Death of Extras )
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I hate going shopping near Christmas. I hate it because it's crowded. I hate it because it's about as far as you can get from jolly without involving drugs. And I hate it because every year, something ends up burning down, or blowing up.

This year they did both.

I Don't Shop Near Christmas )
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So I've been meaning to post something for a while, because I need to test this whole Dreamwidth->LJ sort of posting thing. And I thought, why don't I actually post something useful? After all, there are a whole bunch of things that people talk about without actually knowing something about that I may actually know something about, and that some people might, someday, find useful. That would fulfill my court-mandated community service urge to help my fellow man (or woman).

So here it is, just like those films you used to watch as kids which taught you not to buy drugs from bad actors with poorly scripted lines (because they're probably Narcs) a Public Service Announcement on how to survive a zombie infestation.

A Basic Undead Public Service Announcement )
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It's Cinco de Mayo today. It's a reminder that I'm not back in San Diego.

In the US, Cinco de Mayo is generally another one of the ways in which Americans appropriate other people's holidays in order to have an excuse to get drunk, similar to how non-Irish non-Catholics love St. Patrick's day. We don't even know what it's about; who needs history when you have tequila?

There's plenty of drinking in the American southwest too, but Cinco de Mayo has a somewhat more dangerous meaning there. It's not actually a significant date, but is just associated with a) Mexico, and b) the start of May, which is generally when the four-month long border migration season begins. For the next four months, until the September shift starts, a long-running battle will be raging over the Mexican border as thousands of hours of effort are poured into the task of keeping undesirable elements from crossing the border. Where by “undesirable” I mean dangerous, and by “elements”, I mean Chupacabra.

Keeping You Safe From Foreign Critters )
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Here is the Halloween recap, days late and dollars short, but hell, it's been busy over here.

In this one though I get entirely too full of myself. I think Charity will cut me down a notch or two sooner or later.

And Halloween... )
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I knew everything was going too well.

Everything was going too well, until last week, when, out of the blue, a whole bunch of stores got hit. Not just any store, but kitchenware stores. Or rather I should say fine dining stores. Of course, there's not much to take, unless you have a real hankering for some stainless steel cookware, but the thieves managed to make out rather well for themselves. For example, they stole about a hundred thousand dollars, all told, in fine silver.

Oh lordy lordy, as some people might say.

”And Then It Got Worse...” )
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It's October. Fire season in San Diego. It's dry, it's hot, and the world feels like you're stepping into an oven, the kind of dry heat that you just don't get in some parts of the world, where even sweat vanishes into nothing before you can get under shade. In other words, it's a perfect time for fire.

Except that it isn't. Nothing's burning, no clouds of smoke fill the sky, and the wind holds only the faint scent of desert instead of the burning smell of houses and dreams. So we sit in the heat, wondering if the wind will turn and return the sea to us, and wait for the end of the world. It is like waiting for the tornado down in the cellar, knowing that the monster may or may not hit today, but wondering and waiting.

Which is what the rest of October is like too. October is generally the worst month of the year. But this year, amidst a rocketing economic crisis that threatens to turn this nation inside out, amidst wars at home and abroad, against a background of struggle and uncertainty and new players trying to wrestle the stage away, there is nothing. In the leadup to Halloween, even the normal culprits, the Vampires, the Werewolves, the Undead-American Advancement Association, the Leprechauns, the Fairies, the Kelpies, the Angelum, hell, even the Scientologists are deader then doorknobs. There's been the usual trouble. We busted the Two-fanged Grin clan last week for smuggling immigrants across the border from Mexico, and then sucking all the blood out of their bodies. The Japanese are looking for an escapee who they think is in the area, and the Russians seem to be expanding into Southland territory. Not to mention the usual mess with the Domina, and Isochron, and the Legion. But that's it. No mass uprisings. No disasters, no mass killings. In contrast to every other Halloween I can remember, things seem...normal.

It's Halloween, and nothing's happening. I started this month sleeping with a knife under my pillow. I've upgraded to shotguns. Two of them. Charity wouldn't let me take the nuke out of the office.

BT emails

Sep. 4th, 2008 07:51 am
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Judging by yesterday's email exchange, I can conclude the following:

1) I really suspect that, protestations to the contrary, all of these emails are connected.
2) British Telecom is still not the brightest candle in the chandelier.
3) London really, really screwed up yesterday.
4) I am really glad I don't live in the Amazon.

Included for your dubious viewing pleasure )
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I'm somewhat bored, which means that it's time to seek attention by attempting to inflame my FL. I would like to think that I do this simply because I wish to enlighten everyone's day, or at least make it lighter, but secretly I think that I'm just an asshole.

Astute people have probably already commented on Japan's inspection of older folk (between the ages of 40 and 74), and their attempts to penalize them through their employers if their waists grow beyond the state-mandated limit (33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women), in an attempt to control obesity (which visual examination reveals effects about fifteen Japanese who are not sumo wrestlers).

This is some source of amusement at work, because ever since a brief trip to Japan, Alice has been having a bit of a problem with her weight. She's five-foot-six, wears a US size four dress (or so she claims - I've certainly never seen her in one), and currently weighs approximately three-quarters of a ton.

"You know," I said today, looking off the side of the building at the impact crater she made after jumping exuberantly on the fire escape of a third-floor apartment, "We're going to have to do something about that."

"I hear that reinforced concrete is cheap these days," Daren remarked.

"That's not quite what I meant."

In Which Alice Loses Weight )
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So I've been asked, because recruitment at late has been a little low, to encourage people to join up. Now, normally I'm against this sort of thing, but it's been made abundantly clear to me that refusing to do a bit of advertising could result in me losing some of my workplace privileges, such as my ability to walk without experiencing extreme amounts of pain. Hence, you get the usual spiel:

Do you crave danger and excitement? Do you want a job exploring the unknown, bringing the past, the present, and the future to light? Do you find yourself struggling with boredom and tedium in your office job, wondering what awaits you on the other side of the door? Are you prepared to face the challenges that wait beyond? Then we have the job for you. You don't need special qualifications or training, all you need is a willingness to challenge what lies beyond. If you're still game, and not intimidated by a little risk, perhaps you're ready for a job at:

The Bureau of Unusual Architecture

Help Wanted: The Bureau of Unusual Architecture )


Mar. 31st, 2008 07:30 pm
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I totally blame [livejournal.com profile] flamingchords for this, and for requiring me, due to a set of coincidences, to write an entry involving relativity. The problem is that, even though in my day job I am a physicist, I have nothing really amusing to say about relativity. And nothing in the other job either.

Well, maybe one thing, even if it's not all that funny. But it is confusing.

Lord do I hate time travel.

Relativity )
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Because I haven't insulted anybody recently, and there are Irish people on my FL.

I hate Saint Patrick's Day.

I hate what it's been turned into in the US. I hate the festivities, I hate the way the whole thing has been degraded into cheap commercial sensationalism, and I hate the fact that everyone tends to see it as a good reason to go get drunk, even if they aren't Catholic.

But most of all, I suppose I hate it for the implications.

I mean, in theory it has become a celebration of Irish culture and Irish contributions to America. And there have been many. Irish people have contributed to the cheap labor market, sewn shirts, built railroads, and helped the eastern political machines achieve dominance over the electorate. If it weren't for the Irish, the Transcontinental Railway would have gotten to Utah only from one direction. But we never talk about the bad parts of Irish immigration to America, namely what they brought with them.

And if you don't believe that they brought anything bad with them, I have two words for you:

Leprechaun. Mafia.

So This Short, Green Guy Walks Into a Bar... )
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The annual survey of the worst cities to live in, by region, came out this week. There weren't many surprises, I have to say, everything was basically the same as last year:

Worst city in the Western US: San Francisco
Worst city in North America: New York
Worst city in the World: Tokyo

Now, I don't always agree with the ratings. I think San Francisco is worse than New York, since SF's problems tend to be internal, and NY's problems tend to be external, and I think internal problems are worse. Also, San Francisco has worse hours, and tends to be more crowded.

But everybody agrees, hands down, that Tokyo is the worst city to live in in the entire world.

Nobody knows what it is about Tokyo that makes it so horrible. Maybe it's the fact the Japanese are so...strange. Maybe it was centuries of isolation, followed by the weight of the twentieth century crashing in on them all at once. Maybe it's some leftover from World War II, or from the shattered hopes and dreams of a nation's people. It could just be the density, all those people crammed into not all that much space, the way they struggle just to stay alive in a vast, uncaring city.

Whatever the reason, Tokyo is just weird. It has those vending machines that we don't talk about, those cramped streets that you can barely fit a bicycle down, and the five-hundred twenty-two square miles of dead corridors, one-way doors, battered offices, and three-way landings that make up the Tokyo Tower Worldgate Complex, a breeding ground for extra-planar invasions that just happens to be the most dangerous piece of real estate on Earth.

A Guide to Tokyo )
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So I've been invited to a wedding in Los Angeles next weekend.

I don't normally go to weddings, seeing as how they're depressing, given that the chances of me actually getting to attend one in a position of honor is extraordinarily small. However, I'm having some problems skipping out of this one.

I know both families peripherally, the Stonebridges and the Vaslovs, who are being joined at this wondrous occasion, mostly from work issues. The bride's family, the Stonebridges, came to America so long ago that they've forgotten their roots, they have more than a little American Indian in them, and have taken well to California, with all its opportunities for outdoor adventure, several of them having become either park rangers, outdoor sports coaches, or wilderness guides. The Vaslovs are more recent, possibly from Eastern Europe, although they tend to be vague about where they came from (and given their lack of family history, when they made up that name), a very old family we are assured, who tend to be involved in one of those jobs where a great deal of money changes hands, mostly from people with suits to people in suits, somehow leaving a great deal of it behind during the process. The Stonebridges tend to be easily excited, impulsive, extremely disinclined to buy real silverware, and possessed of a tendency to have to spend a lot of time cleaning up their house, patching their clothes, and wiping up the blood, on days after the full moon. The Vaslovs are cultured, in a chin-raising, nostril-pointing manner that can be considered snobbish, cold, avoid restaurants and cooking styles that involve large amounts of garlic, can't walk across running water (of which there is very little in LA. They can drive across it for some reason), never go to church, are very sensitive to sunlight, and harbor a deep-seated fear of sharp wooden objects.

And they absolutely, totally, and completely loathe each other.

Family Feud )
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Zombies? Zombies! Out of all the things we could have had, why did it have to be Zombies? I am definitely going to need a change of clothes by tonight.

I hate my life.
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It's almost Halloween here.

I hate Halloween.

I hate Halloween because it's loud. I hate Halloween because it's garish. I hate Halloween because people expect you to dress up in thrown-together costumes like you're misfits from the casting department of a B-grade movie and enjoy it.

But I really hate Halloween because it's the night when people throw all their manners straight out the window, do away with their morals, and start thinking that it's perfectly all right to deal with the fact that Bob from Accounting hates you by summoning some seven thousand fanged horror from the Nether Abysses.

And I really hate the fact that I have to help send them back.

Pre-Halloween Horrors )
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It was Valentine's Day this week. Although this is not the worst day of the year for me, it's probably in the top ten.

The problem with Valentine's Day is not the couples (a category which I either have the fortune or misfortune to be absent from), but rather the singles. Particularly the young singles. Particularly the young, desperate singles.

For some reason, Valentine's Day send certain people spiraling into the pit of despair. They become desperate enough to hang out in bars in the seedier side of town (the kind of places where the only effective pickup line tends to be 'How much?'). Deperate enough to drink themselves into oblivion and then cry themselves to sleep until their pillow. Desperate enough to flip through their copy of the Ars Magica until they get to the chapter labeled "Things That You Should Never, Ever Try" and skip to the section on love magic.

Which is generally where we have to come in.

V-Day Recap )
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Here's how my Christmas went.

I never woke up at two in the morning when I was a kid. Hence I was not happy at waking up at that ungodly hour now that I'm older, so it took the phone multiple tries to get me out of bed.

"It's two in the morning," I finally managed. "Whoever is calling me better have a damn good reason."

"It's Alice," said Alice who, because she had spent the better part of a day complaining that Christmas was just a bastardization of ancient pagan celebrations, had drawn the Christmas Eve shift, "We've had an incursion problem."

I swore. Incursions happen every once in a while, often at inconvenient times. Groaning, I propped myself up in bed. "Was it serious?"

"No. Defences were on auto, and detected an unauthorized and stealthed entry. We intercepted him at range and knocked him down. Then we confiscated the hardware. Standard procedure."

"Then why are you calling me?" I asked grumpily.

Alice actually sounded a bit nervous when she answered, which magically dispelled my sleepiness. "Er...because I've got this fat old elf and some reindeer here asking about whether they can get their sleigh back."

Whooping alarm sirens began to go off in my head. "Wait a minute. You SHOT DOWN Santa Claus?"

"Well, it wasn't exactly me. You see, the defenses were on auto because..."

"I'm coming in. Don't leave the office," I ordered. Yes, this was going to be one of those Christmases.

Read more... )


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